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Tag: Texas

EPA Agent Indicted for Allegedly Lying About Affair With FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Dallas was indicted Wednesday in Louisiana for allegedly lying about having an affair with an FBI agent he was working with,  the Justice Department announced.

Keith Phillips, 61, of Kent, Tex. was charged with obstruction of justice and perjury stemming from his sworn testimony in a civil case currently pending in the Western District of Louisiana.

Authorities stated that Phillips and a female FBI agent from September 1996 to Dec. 14, 1999 investigated a criminal case that resulted in the indictment of Hubert Vidrine Jr. and several others.

The criminal charges against Vidrine were ultimately dismissed, and Vidrine turned around and filed a lawsuit against the federal government for malicious prosecution, authorities said.

Authorities said that during a deposition taken in  Vidrine’s civil suit,  agent  Phillips “allegedly falsely testified that he did not have an affair with the FBI special agent, when, in fact, he did. The indictment alleges that it was material to the civil lawsuit to determine any potential motives of the criminal investigators in investigating and prosecuting the charges against Vidrine, and that Phillips committed perjury when he testified falsely about the affair and obstructed justice when he provided this false testimony.”

The indictment also alleges that he then contacted the FBI agent and tried to convince her not to confess to the affair.

‪If convicted, Phillips faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the obstruction of justice count and five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the perjury count.‪ The case is being prosecuted by Marquest J. Meeks of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and was investigated by the EPA Office of Inspector General.

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Secret Service and FBI Probing Racial Cartoon Faxed to White House and Congress Member

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some cartoons simply aren’t funny.

The Secret Service and FBI are investigating who faxed a racially charged cartoon to the White House and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex),  the Houston Chronicle reported.

The cartoon depicted nooses and lynching posts, the paper reported. The headline included a racial epithet and the cartoon also included two L-shaped lynching posts with “Sheila Jackson Lee” written on one cross bar and “Hussein Obama” written on the second cross bar, the Houston Chronicle reported. The return address on the fax said: “Defecating on Obama.”

“We are aware of the cartoon, and we are taking appropriate measures,” said Secret Service spokesman Robert Novy, according to the Chronicle.

Texas Man Busted for Shining Laser on FBI Plane

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Sammy Ladymon: Find a new hobby.

The 45-year-old Garland, Tex. man was arrested Thursday night after getting caught pointing a laser at an FBI aircraft that was hovering above, NBC DFW reported.

The station reported that the FBI pilot flew over the area in response to complaints from pilots of a bright light.

When an FBI was directed to Ladymon’s home, they found him still pointing the laser at the FBI plane.

The station reported that he faces a misdemeanor charge of illumination of aircraft by intense light.

Texas County Threatens to Charge ATF After Detonating Explosives that Triggered Mass Fire

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF has rubbed the Motley County, Tex., government the wrong way.

The city attorney Tom Edwards says ATF could face Class C misdemeanor charges for violating the county’s burn ban after the agency detonated unwanted explosives, which triggered a fire that scorched 150 acres of land, according to the Plainview Daily Herald.

“We have the federal government that has just refused aid to the state of Texas for all our fire damage throughout the state, and then here comes federal agents who start another fire,” Edwards told KCBD-TV.

The Plainview paper reported that Jim Luera, resident agent in charge for the ATF in Lubbock, took full responsibility for the fire. It took close to six hours to extinguish the blaze.

Luera said ATF detonated the explosives because it had a mounting stockpile, the paper reported. He said the detonations were used as a training exercise for bomb squads from several area cities.

He said landowners would be reimbursed for the damage, the paper reported.

Rep. Peter King Busts Justice Dept.’s Chops; Claims it Overruled Wishes of Prosecutors and FBI to File Charges in Muslim Charity Case; Justice Dept. Calls Allegations Nonsense

Rep. Peter King/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Peter King is busting the chops of the Justice Department, claiming the department overruled fed prosecutors and FBI agents who wanted to file  charges against unindicted co-conspirators  in  a prosecution of a  Texas-based Muslim charity —  the Holy Land Foundation — which had ties to Hamas in Gaza, the Washington Times reported.

King, a New York Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter on Monday to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking that he answer questions regarding the 2008 terrorism-financing prosecution, the Washington Times reported.

“I have been reliably informed that the decision not to seek indictments of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its co-founder Omar Ahmad; the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice headquarters over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case,” King stated.

King also wants to know if the White House intervened in the matter, the Times reported.

“I believe that in order to maintain the credibility of the department, there should be full transparency into the department’s decision,” King stated.

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, issued a statement to ticklethewire.com disputing the allegations:

“The Justice Department brings prosecutions based on the facts and the evidence, nothing more or less. The investigation, prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its leaders for providing material support to Hamas, and determination of whether to charge unindicted co-conspirators, were guided only by the law and the facts; any suggestion to the contrary is false and unfounded.”

“The notion that an individual suspect or organization is immune from Justice Department prosecution solely because of their affiliations, memberships or political leanings is not only false but an affront to Department prosecutors nationwide who bring charges against defendants daily without regard to such considerations.”

To read more on Washington Times story click here.

Watchdog Group Sues Justice Dept. For Failing to Release Investigative Documents on Tom DeLay

Ex-Rep. Tom DeLay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A government watchdog group — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) — wants to figure out why ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was never prosecuted federally.

CREW filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in D.C. against the Justice Department for failing to release records of the FBI probe into DeLay. On Oct. 19, the watchdog group said it filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA)  with the Justice Department and the FBI for investigative records relating to DeLay, convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others, and reasons why authorities did not prosecute him.

“Rep. Tom DeLay spent years turning the House of Representatives into his personal casino, and yet shockingly was never federally prosecuted. The American people deserve to know why,”  CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.

“The DeLay case is just one in a string of troubling instances where the Department of Justice has declined to prosecute blatantly corrupt politicians,”  Sloan said. “The department doesn’t even want the public to know why it didn’t prosecute. If Rep. DeLay’s actions really were not criminal, shouldn’t DOJ be happy to turn over its records and prove that? Why all the secrecy?”

Texas authorities convicted DeLay on state charges in a scheme in which he illegally helped funnel corporate contributions to Republican Texas legislative candidates. He was sentenced in January to three years in prison, but remains free pending his appeal.

CREW said in a press release that the Justice Department denied the FOIA request because the release of records would interfere with open law enforcement proceedings.

“Yet DOJ told Rep. DeLay in August 2010 it had closed its investigation of him. In addition, the FBI argued releasing records would violate Rep. DeLay’s privacy, failing to take into account that he was a government official and there has been significant public interest in his conduct, the investigation, and DOJ’s decision not to prosecute,” the release said.

The Justice Department on Wednesday morning did not immediately respond for comment.

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One Gun Used in Slaying of ICE Agent in Mexico Linked to Suspected Texas Gun Trafficker

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF said Tuesday it had arrested a suspected gun trafficker in Texas who allegedly bought one of the weapons that wound up in Mexico and was used to kill ICE agent Jaime Zapata on Feb. 15.

Authorities said Mexican authorities recovered three guns used in the ICE agent’s slaying — one of which was tied to suspected gun trafficker Otilio Osorio. He and his brother Ranferi Osorio, 27, were arrested Monday at their home in Lancaster, Tex. on charges of possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers.

Authorities alleged that Osorio purchased the firearm used in the ICE agent’s slaying last Oct. 10 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. ATF said ballistic testing conducted by Mexican authorities linked the weapon to Zapata’s death.

In a separate  criminal complaint,  authorities arrested  Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, who lived next door to the Osorio brothers, on charges of knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and dealing in firearms without a license.

U.S. authorities have been trying to battle an increasing problem of illegal gun traffickers shipping guns south to the Mexican drug cartels.

FBI Sends Letter Warning Stores About Suspicious Purchases of Fertilizer and Chemicals

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –The easy to purchase farm supplies and chemicals continue to concern the FBI.

The bureau has sent out a reminder to farm supply stores and other businesses in the U.S. to watch for unusual or suspicious purchases of fertilizer, pesticides and other substances that could be converted into explosives, ABC News reports.

ABC reported that the letters were not sent in response to a specific threat or the arrest this week of a Saudi student in Texas who had purchased chemicals as part of a plot to blow up nuclear plants, President George W. Bush’s home and the homes of some soldiers who had been stationed at Abu Ghraib.

“It’s a continuing outreach effort to develop relationships with business and entities that may come across suspicious activities,” Michael Rankin, acting special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Denver told ABC News.

According to ABC, the letter said:

“Current trends in terrorist bombings show that fertilizer-based explosives are continuing as a threat throughout the world,” the letter states. “Ammonium nitrate and urea-based fertilizers pose an explosive threat if prepared and initiated properly. In addition, certain pesticides can be used to cause widespread harm to people.”

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